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Film Review: Human Emotions Transcend Wealth in ‘Foxcatcher’

CHICAGO – In the memorable film “Barton Fink,” the title character is asked to write a wrestling movie for Wallace Beery. If Fink had isolated himself long enough, he might have come up with “Foxcatcher,” demonstrating once again that a true story is much stranger than fiction.

Interview: Director Bennett Miller is the Hound in ‘Foxcatcher’

CHICAGO – There are many categories of film director types – facilitators, tacticians, framers, to name a few – but there are few real artists. Bennett Miller has guided three films in his career, “Capote,” “Moneyball” and his latest “Foxcatcher.” All three have a purposeful artistry, and explore the soul within the humanity it portrays.

Film Review: ‘The Book of Life’ Has Uninspired Tale to Tell

CHICAGO – Unfortunately you can’t judge “The Book Of Life” by its cover. The movie draws on the fertile imagery of the Mexican “Day Of The Dead” to create its own animated world. The animation is excellent and the wooden characters seem to spring to life – but those performances are as wooden as a board.

Film Review: ‘22 Jump Street’ is a Proud Bargain Bin Blockbuster

CHICAGO – “22 Jump Street” is a big budget Hollywood sequel that actively comments on the diminishing returns of sequels. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller know that for every “Lethal Weapon 2,” that manages to surpass the original, there are a dozen “Another 48 Hours”.

Film Review: Big Laughs Await in Sly, Fun ‘The LEGO Movie’

CHICAGO – The funniest movie in a long while features no human beings, just animated bland faces among interlocking plastic bricks, the toys which inspired the film. “The LEGO Movie” never takes itself seriously, which means huge laughs for the audience.

Exclusive Portrait: Birthday Photo of ‘Magic Mike’ Star Joe Manganiello

Joe Maganiello

CHICAGO – It’s a Happy Birthday for Joe Manganiello. The “True Blood” hunk was born on December 28th in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has a red-hot career after co-starring last year in “Magic Mike,” with Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey. Manganiello was in Chicago recently meeting fans and signing his new book.

Blu-ray Review: Features-Packed Edition of ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

CHICAGO – “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” may have been overly slammed by critics but audiences definitely liked the film, pushing it to over $370 million worldwide, more than 20% more than its predecessor (even if the domestic total for the sequel was less than the first film). Paramount has put together a solid release for the film, including over an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, a commentary track, and a great transfer. It’s what one wants from a major theatrical Blu-ray.

Film Review: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx in ‘White House Down’

CHICAGO – How could a movie in which the President shoots a rocket from the back of a limousine during a car chase on the White House lawn possibly be boring? Roland Emmerich somehow finds a way in the numbing “White House Down,” a movie that make absolutely no sense but fails to entertain as B-movie escapism (as his movies sometimes have in the past).

Blu-ray Review: Steven Soderbergh’s Brilliant Thriller ‘Side Effects’

Side Effects

CHICAGO – Over a hundred films in and Steven Soderbergh’s “Side Effects” is still one of my favorite flicks of 2013. In fact, I’d say it’s the first great movie of the year released on Blu-ray and DVD. It underperformed at the box office but the star power on its cover is likely to make it a hit on the home market. Renters or buyers will be pleasantly surprised by a rewarding thriller from one our best working filmmakers.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Megan Fox

    CHICAGO - Look past the cheesy carbs and b-boy poses, this shiny mo-cap reboot of cartoon juggernaut “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” offers slick entertainment that makes for a welcome surprise for middle school fare. Proving that executive producer Michael Bay has both grown up but it still frightfully in tune with what jazzes teens, this surprise box office hit is indeed a nice slice of a blockbuster spectacle, whether or not a viewer cares about the turtles or not.

  • HoliDaze Front

    CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

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